Lunenburg Councillor Raises Concerns On Increase In RCMP Spending – Town Researching Alternatives



(Lunenburg Town Hall. Photo: Jesse Ward)

When Town of Lunenburg Council met on April 23 and reviewed the 24/25 draft Operating Budget, Councillor Jenni Birtles raised concerns with the Town’s increase in payments to the RCMP.

“I’m still really bothered about the RCMP and their costs we still have to pay,” said Birtles.

“I still don’t feel we get enough coverage for paying $65,500 additional this year, and since ‘22 we’ve been increased by $122,924, and I do not see any additional coverage or support.”

Lunenburg’s 22/23 actual spend on their RCMP contract was $950,076. The 23/24 operating budget forecast is $1,007,500, and the 24/25 draft Operating Budget is earmarking $1,073,000. 

That’s an increase of 13 per cent, or nearly $123,000, over three years. The RCMP contract is for five officers, contribution to four advisory positions, and Lunenburg’s share of the centralized dispatch service.

The contract represents almost 10 per cent of Lunenburg’s entire draft operating budget for 2024/25. 

Birtles asked Lunenburg CAO Jamie Doyle whether there are any other options, or if the Town has to pay the increase.

Doyle said: “I, too, am unhappy with the RCMP increase. I think most across the country are facing the same thing where there’s an increase, and most jurisdictions I’ve been in, there’s been some level of conflict with the RCMP, and they want more eyes on the street.”

“So, we feel the same way, unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it. We’ve shared our concerns […] through RCMP channels, but until now, we don’t have any other recourse.”

“We’ve gone through the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, they’ve also shared their opinion with the federal government about how unfair it is for municipalities to be picking up the costs of some of their failed actions, so the inability for them to renegotiate a union contract shouldn’t be worn by municipalities, but unfortunately, it is.”

During the public input session of the meeting that followed, local resident Duncan Kroll said he wanted to thank Birtles for addressing the RCMP issue.

“With all due respect to the CAO, and he knows I hold him in high regard, I don’t think it’s good enough to say there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Kroll.

“The current provincial police services agreement was signed in 2012. It was a 20-year agreement. So that will take us to an expiration date of 2032. We have eight more years of the RCMP grinding us,” he said.

“I think it would be prudent, as other communities in Nova Scotia are doing, to look at other policing options. I think it would be prudent for us to consider what the consequences, the process, the penalties associated with terminating the current agreement.”

Doyle thanked Kroll for his comments, and said his comments to Birtles did not suggest that the Town is not looking at other policing options.

“We have many conversations with other jurisdictions, particularly the Town of Bridgewater, with their police force, and what it looks like to understand if they are to help us versus the RCMP,” said Doyle.

Doyle said it would be “incredibly costly” to get out of the current RCMP contract. 

“I don’t think we’re alone across this province – across the country for that matter, of those jurisdictions that are relying on RCMP to question the costs associated there,” said Doyle.

“So it’s not that we’re tying our hands of it, it’s trying to understand the best option we have.”


Comments

2 responses to “Lunenburg Councillor Raises Concerns On Increase In RCMP Spending – Town Researching Alternatives”

  1. […] For more details, read our full story, Lunenburg Councillor Raises Concerns On Increase In RCMP Spending – Town Researching Alternatives. […]

  2. thom barclay

    We have the same conversation with every increase which never goes anywhere. Don’t waste staff time looking into alternatives. Town revenues went up 8.4% this year with a comparable increase last year and possibly even bigger next year when PVSC registers all the land sales. Perhaps some restraint on consultants fees and staffing could be shown for a change. The towns population has been virtually stagnant while income and spending have never been higher. This IS the story.

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